Packer Interview Gerrit Kema, Wageningen University and Research Aug. 14
( The Packer )

The Packer’s Tom Karst visits Aug. 14 with Gerrit (Gert) Kema, professor and researcher at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands about the recent discovery of Panama disease in Latin America banana farms.

Kema talks about the implications of the confirmation of Fusarisum wilt tropical race 4 (Panama disease) in Colombia this month.

Kema, a plant health researcher with years of study on bananas, said the banana industry has leaned too heavily on the monoculture of the cavendish variety and not invested enough in research to find another variety with resistance to TR4. 

What is the road ahead for multinational banana companies searching for an alternative to the cavendish variety? What research has been done to date to find an alternative, and are genetically modified varieties an option?

How quickly will the disease spread to other areas of Latin America?

Those are some of the questions that Kema takes on during the Aug. 14 interview with The Packer.

Related links

UPDATED: TR4 banana disease confirmed in Colombia

Research website on Panama disease